Does My Camera Offend You?

Very early at the Country Living Fair I was approached by an older man who said I shouldn’t be taking photos and if I wanted to, I should ask the booth operator’s permission.

I thanked him and quickly moved away from him, annoyed. I tweeted that I had been scolded and got a reply from a friend that a similar thing happened.

No where in entire grounds of the Ohio Village did Country Living post signs saying photography was prohibited. I’ve been to theaters and concerts where photography is prohibited and I abide. There were 200 vendors and my mom and I walked past if not into every booth, since I was burned up I was on the look out for signs prohibiting photography and only saw one booth.

From 2001 to 2006, I ran an online business and participated in craft shows where people would say things like I’m taking a photo of your stuff so I can make it myself, I was caught off guard by the above comment. I’ve always known that part of making and selling crafts is attracting a like audience who might admire, but want to replicate your work if they are not willing to pay you for you work. It is a hard idea to accept, but comes with the territory. I could have posted signs at my craft booth, but I did not want that to be the one thing people remembered about me, the girl with the snooty signs.

I can only think of one antique shop I’ve been to that said no photography, but plenty of others allow it and even one owner offered to take photos of my friend and I posing in outrageous Elton John-esque sunglasses. I go back to the store because I liked that experience.

Each and every booth was crowded and there were several operators at each to booth. So you ask one person who says I don’t know ask so-and-so if its okay…ah forget it.

If I had to venture a guess there was a good 40 year difference between that man and myself, which is why I agreed with the above reply. No matter the age of the vendor, it would be good customer service to prepare yourself for how you’re going to respond to people using photography and technology around you.

If you do not want photos taken or require permission, communicate that with a sign. When you’re in a public place, don’t expect to stop people from taking photos of the space around you. But don’t get your feathers in a ruffle and set out to do the same to a person you see holding a camera. She’s not your enemy. She’s documenting and sharing an event that might attract your next customer.

Additional reading: Photojojo 10 commandments of photography

By the way, my friends have private twitter accounts, hence the blurred names.

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1 Comment

  1. Condo Blues
    September 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    The same thing happened to me last weekend at The Ohio Renaissance Festival. I normally ask if I can take photos in a craft/art venue out of respect for the artist. I always mention it’s for my blog and give them my card. In the one booth I forgot I got ripped by the owner. The guy makes fancy lovely hats but the hat I took a photo of was an undecorated fez I knew he didn’t make. I was in the wrong but the reaction I got was so mean it left a bad taste in my mouth. The guy could have posted a sign saying no photos but didn’t.

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